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Court declines SEC’s request to stay execution on paying Gwarzo’s full benefits

Court declines SEC’s request to stay execution on paying Gwarzo’s full benefits
June 04
06:18 2020

The National Industrial Court has declined to rule a stay of execution in favour of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a case with Mounir Gwarzo, its former director-general.

The commission had approached the court to get a stay of execution which would help it suspend the payment of Gwarzo’s full benefits while it appeals the judgement.

In a judgement delivered on Thursday, Rakiya Haastrup, justice of Court 4 of the industrial court, said the notice of appeal and application for leave to appeal submitted by SEC does not “operate as an appeal”.

“A mere appeal is not sinequanon of a stay of execution. Applicants have yet again failed to show any special circumstances that will warrant a stay of this court’s judgment against the trite principle of law that parties should not be denied the enjoyment of fruits of their judgments,” Haastrup said.

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The court submitted that the appeal “is such that requires the leave of the court before an appeal can be entered in which case the applicants have failed to show the court an order granting leave to the applicants to appeal the judgment. Hence there was no evidence that leave was ever granted or appeal entered”.

Haastrup also dismissed as “speculative” the argument by SEC lawyers that Gwarzo will not be able to pay back monies paid to him if the appeal succeeds while a stay of execution is not given.

“Applicants failed to establish to the court that the judgment creditor is a person of straw and the court does not act base on speculation,” she said.

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On the argument of whether the court had the jurisdiction to hear the case and as such the court should stay the execution, the court said: “The issue of jurisdiction raised as part of the grounds of appeal was not a fresh issue which could have qualified same as a special circumstance to warrant the grant of a stay”.

The judge said the issue of jurisdiction was brought before the court at the trial and was seriously argued consequent upon which a ruling was delivered

On November 29, Kemi Adeosun, the former finance minister, suspended Gwarzo and set up an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate allegations of financial impropriety levelled against him.

He was accused of collecting severance package worth N104.85 million while still in service in violation of the civil service rules.

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The minister said Gwarzo was suspended from office to allow for an unhindered investigation.

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Lamido Yuguda as a replacement and accepted Gwarzo’s resignation.

Additional reporting by Bolanle Olabimtan.

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